A LONG-serving councillor has caused outrage after posting comments apparently blaming the whole of the black and minority ethnic communities (BAME) for the second lockdown.

Cllr Bob Allen, Conservative councillor for Heaton and Lostock, took to Facebook last night after the Government announced that the people of Bolton and across Greater Manchester would be subject to additional measures to contain coronavirus.

Councillors say they have received a number of complaints from members of the public.

The ruling Tory administration has swiftly moved to distance themselves from the comments - and meeting is being held to discuss the post.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, said: "Cllr Allen does not speak for the rest of the group. Today the officers of the group  - six councillors - will be meeting to discuss this. There will be meeting of the cabinet to inform them of the officers' decision." 

The Bolton News:

Those angered by the post have pointed to the fact that many people from black and minority ethnic groups have died caring for patients with the virus.

Cllr Allen also targets Chinese people and criticises his own Government.

The angry post reads: “Don’t penalise me over the increase in covid cases in Greater Manchester. I’ve stuck to the rules for four long months.

"Blame the 48,000 illegal immigrants, the BAME community and the morons that never obey the rules. "Blame the Public Health England (PHE) idiots who wrongly advised us, blame NHS managers who were totally unprepared, blame the Chinese for concealing the true facts and blame the government for not stopping thousands of flights into the UK from infected countries. We are being led by donkeys.”

The Bolton News:

Cllr Bob Allen (pictured) has apologised for any offence caused ­— but stands by his post.

He said: "A disproportionate number of BAME people have been fined for breaking lockdown rules suggesting that some members of that community have inadvertently helped to spread the virus.

"There are of course many others who have flouted the rules but the BAME group have been particularly identified in the national media.

"I blame lots of people and groups for our current crisis and I remain convinced that from the outset the pandemic could have been better managed. For example it is unbelievable that throughout April and May we continued to allow dozens of incoming flights every day from countries badly affected by the virus.

"PHE, whose job is to protect us from such infections, failed to give correct advice to the government and failed abysmally to provide sufficient PPE."

Cllr Allen said he has respect for those working through the pandemic helping to save lives.

The Bolton News:

In 2009 Cllr Allen (pictured) was suspended by his party following a row over an internet blog after he posted a picture of a gorilla next to a story about a fellow councillor.

Leader of the Labour Party in Bolton, Cllr Nick Peel said: “I think he really needs to check his facts ­— cases in Bolton seem to suggest a mixed pattern, for example cases in Halliwell are not huge.

“I think the reason a second lockdown has come into force is because of mixed and confusing messages from the Government about how many people can gather and social distancing rules ­— it is not clear and has led to this."

Neil McAlister, a local resident and chairman of the Greater Manchester Mental Health Unison branch, said: “As a health worker I am disgusted and appalled at Cllr Bob Allen's rant.

“Black and ethnic minority workers have born the brunt of the covid-19 crisis and have continued to staff the NHS and other front-line services. Health and social care services would cease to function without their vital contribution. Councillor Allen should resign immediately.”

Chair of Bolton West Labour Party, Cath Ryde added: "We have lost people from BAME backgrounds looking after people with coronavirus and it is shocking a councillor, a councillor who represents me, can make these comments just as a troll would, he has a responsibility.”

Tom Hanley, a member of Bolton West Labour Group, said: “His comments are horrible, and that seems such a weak word to describe what he has written ­— they are disgusting , shocking and divisive and wrong on so many levels."